Penguins Add Douglas Murray, The Whole Eastern Conference is Already In Pain

San Jose Sharks Media Day

Another Cup winning move from Ray Shero today to bring in Douglas Murray, who we were pretty keen on last week in our discussion of possible trade targets. If Brenden Morrow draws analogies to Billy Guerin and Gary Roberts, Murray has to draw comparisons to Hal Gill: is he going to be the Pens best defender? Hell no. Is he going to be a good fit and add some much needed grit to the bottom pairing? Hell yes.

Murray’s not as tall and rangy as Gill but he’s more physical, he’s purpose built to clear out trash in his own zone. Unfortunately, also like Gill he’s not the fastest skater, but in hindsight how often did you actually say, “Man, Hal Gill is killing the Pens with his lack of mobility,” and for what its worth HCDB has already said he plans to skate Murray with Niskanen, someone who doesn’t want for foot speed.

The cost for Murray is this year’s 2nd round pick and a conditional second or third round in next year’s draft, contingent on whether the Pens re-sign Murray or not. Again this is the Penguins giving in order to get but there are two things that make this trade worthwhile: its important to remember that the Pens had TWO first round picks last year, and that management is really big on Pouliot AND Maata, and the Pens already picked up an extra third round pick in this draft. Now assuming that the Pens are able to make a deep playoff push this year and assuming the Stars trade off a few more veterans and plummet in the rankings and earn a lottery spot, what is the big difference between a late second rounder and an early third? In a league like the NHL the difference tends to be pretty small.

And it’s all shaping up nicely for the Pens. Paul-Mart and Free Candy will continue to take on the toughest assignments, the new unit of Murray-Niskanen can hopefully move into silent shutdown mode–you don’t notice them every shift and that’s a huge compliment–akin to the vaunted Scuds-Gill pairing of ’08 and ’09. From there you have Kris Letang and any number of other dynamics: if the Pens need another solid, safe defenseman, Mark Eaton gets the call, if they need some added muscle Deryk Engelland all day, and if by chance they need more offense, that’s why they have Simon Despres.

Of course there is one more defensemen on the Pens current roster, Robert Bortuzzo, and we have no idea what the Pens plan to do. We promise you this, if the Pens put him through waivers, he won’t make it. We would also prefer that the Pens not trade him, although the Pens grow offensive defensemen on trees in Wilkes Barre, the same can’t be said for defensive defensemen. So what is there to do? Well the Pens can send Despres back to the minors, but that’s unlikely… They probably wouldn’t get anything to trade away Mark Eaton or Engo… So could the Pens be gearing up for another move? One that would require the Pens to move someone else? But who? Are we on the cusp of a blockbuster trade? Are Brooks Orpik or Paul Martin in their last days in a Pens’ uniform?

We have no idea, nor do we really think it’s happening, but nonetheless it is impossible to predict what will happen next. For now you should just sit back and watch it unfold. It’s gonna be awesome. Some more about Murray after the jump…

Some more facts about Douglas Murray:

  • Attended Cornell University, which means that the Pens will continue to be the smartest team in the National Hockey League now that they have returned to their quota of three Ivy League players (Tanner Glass and Craig Adams are the others).
  • Rumor has it that Murray has currently gone the longest of any player currently without a goal. Who cares?
  • At one point was dating Tiger Woods’ ex-wife Elin Nordgren. Don’t know why this is important, it’s just pretty shocking I guess.
  • Now what you really want, a lot of gratuitous violence that the newest Penguin has carried out over the years:

There aren’t two tougher dudes in the league than Dustin Byfuglien and Brandon Prust, and Murray made them wet themselves. Sandpaper is an understatement.

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